Tenerife not only offers year-round warmth, but it’s also the perfect place to take a boat tour if you want to see dolphins and whales in the wild. The island’s calm, deep waters are never too icy, and there’s stacks of marine food which make it the ideal environment for both native and migratory species. This all means there’s a good chance of a successful sighting throughout the year.
For the best chance of spotting dolphins and whales, you'll want to head to Tenerife's south-west coast, between the pretty marina of Los Gigantes and popular town of Los Cristianos, You'll find loads of boat trips and excursions to choose from - like a trip on the modern catamaran, the Royal Delfin. Most tours offer an 80-95% sighting success rate, so you’ll hopefully have plenty of impressive shots to post on Facebook.
Boat tours can last anywhere from 2-5 hours and cost around €20-€50, including meals, drinks and a couple of stops to enjoy a swim in the ocean in the warmer months. But while the Canaries bask in average temperatures of 25C year-round, it's a good idea to take a jumper along in case the wind picks up while you’re at sea, as well as plenty of sunscreen.
Common sightings include the short-finned pilot whale and the bottlenose dolphin, but every tour can offer a surprise or two. With 26 species known to dip in and out of these shores, you might discover a herd of fin whales on their migration route to the Arctic, or if you're really lucky, a blue whale, the largest creature on the planet. Trying to recognise all the various species can be challenging, but the expert guides on your boat tour should be able to help you identify a Risso's dolphin from an Eden's whale. (Maybe Google them before you set off!)
A blue whale’s tongue can weigh as much an elephant, while their hearts can be as heavy as a car. These hungry beasts dive up to 500m below the surface of the sea for food, and every single day they will happily chomp through as much as 3,600kg of marine life, such as krill. Equally impressive, the low frequency pulses and sounds they emit can be heard by their mates up to 1,600km away. Phew.
Whatever you do, once the whales and dolphins are within sight, don't take your eyes off the sea. You don't want your only memory of their surfacing behaviour like lobtailing (tailfin slapping) or spyhopping (holding their heads above water) to be a collective gasp from your fellow passengers.
Binoculars are the best piece of kit, but if you're capturing the action on camera, relying on your zoom could blur your shot. Instead, wait for the dolphin or whale to swim closer to the boat and use a higher shutter speed or a rapid burst function to get the clearest photo. Or just stick to Instagram for some fool-proof snapping! But whether you get an award-winning pic or not, watching these majestic creatures in their natural habitat is a fascinating and overwhelmingly humbling experience - or as Dory might say: "Muuuu ahhhhhh..."
Find out what else you can do in Tenerife.
TUI SENSIMAR Los Gigantes is close to prime whale-watching territory, and comes with ocean views from almost every spot.
With its high-design interiors and impressive pool scene, TUI SENSATORI Resort Tenerife is a luxury escape par excellence.
Foodies will love the Hotel Bahia Del Duque. It’s got eight restaurants cooking Italian, Asian and French cuisine.
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